AIT third edition – 2016

Academia-Industry Training – Brazil Camp 2016 – Throwback

What a different look I have at the Academia-Industry Program (AIT) at this point, from being a participant last year to managing the organization of the Brazil AIT Camp last month as Project Manager for swissnex Brazil. The whole preparation of the Rio de Janeiro AIT activities throughout this one year were always a mix of knowing the necessity to provide the entrepreneur empowerment feeling for each participant and the challenge to expand the AIT Camp in Brazil towards many directions (more comprehensive program, more participants, additional support from the Brazilian government, just to mention a few). I am extremely happy to share with you the outcomes of the first week of activities of the AIT 2016, held in Rio de Janeiro, from 3 to 7 October.


As the majority of you know, the key objective of the Academia-Industry Program (AIT) is to expose scientists with applicable projects to market opportunities and induce an entrepreneurial spirit and relevant skills for them to take their research from the lab to the marketplace. They are rare, but a growing “specie” among researchers and we kindly like to name them scientrepreneurs (scientist + entrepreneur). Scientrepreneurs are growing fast in Brazil and in Switzerland thanks to initiatives such as the AIT, which additionally fosters international collaboration by welcoming at the same time, Swiss and Brazilian scientrepreneurs for immersive weeks together in both countries.

Getting more out of Rio de Janeiro’s reality and vocation

Pushed by this year’s main topic of swissnex Brazil, i.e. “bottom-up innovation”, the AIT third’s edition program included visits and talks to social and creative entrepreneurs in different innovation hubs in Rio de Janeiro, such as the NGO Viva Rio at Favela Cantagalo and the Creative Incubator Rio Creativo. Adding up to all the high-level training modules the AIT participants got, such as pitching, communicating and design thinking, the exposure to entrepreneurs without scientific background provided inspiring insights and opened up the horizons of every AIT scientrepreneur.Emma Cavalli, Swiss AIT participant coming from the Zurich Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) described exactly her discovery and detailed all of her impressions during the immersive 5 days of AIT in Rio de Janeiro in her daily blog posts. Of course, samba was giving additional inspiration and rhythm for the AIT participants throughout the entire week in early October. nn AIT 1


Growing bigger

The AIT program is growing bigger in each edition. As for the number of applicants coming from Brazil, the program registered a record in its third edition: 200 applications from all over Brazil were screened leading to a selection of 10 Brazilian, which came from various universities of 4 States in Brazil (Florianópolis, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Sul and São Paulo). If we consider the geographic dispersion characteristic of Brazilian AIT participants another milestone was set by having the higher number of States on board during one AIT edition.

The third edition of the AIT was open to all sectors and this was extremely important in order to analyze some trends. We welcomed for the very first time a Swiss startup from the Agro-Tech sector, but still the main interest in Brazil relies on the Med- and Bio-Tech areas. Nevertheless, the two Swiss energy-related startups were able to come back to Switzerland with significant contacts that might ease the way into a market entry in the future (the energy sector doesn’t demand high regulations procedures such as Med-Tech, for example). The maps and graphs below highlight the States (in yellow) and Cantons (in red) where the AIT 2016 participants were coming from, as well as the sector of each startup that took part in the Camp in Rio de Janeiro.

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The third edition of the AIT also grew on governmental and institutional support from Brazil. Besides the support from the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications (MCTIC), which has been supporting the AIT from its very first edition, the State Funding Agency of Santa Catarina (FAPESC) has joined as supporter during this third edition, enabling three Brazilian participants to join the upcoming Swiss AIT Camp. Those three Brazilian participants were selected out of the “Sinapse da Inovação” Program, run by CERTI Foundation. Sinapse da Inovação is an entrepreneurship program as well, which provided high-class Brazilian startups to the AIT and which was highly profiting of the “international module” provided by the AIT.

Mentors on board

It was an enormous pleasure to have Julien Bettler, Programme Manager of the Lausanne Federal Institute of Technology (EPF Lausanne) Leading House for Swiss Bilateral Programmes, who joined the Rio de Janeiro AIT Camp during this third edition in order to live this immersive week locally. Besides getting to know locally how the AIT is implemented, Julien Bettler help enormously every participant with mentoring feedbacks and pushing them to pitch in unusual places (not only elevator, but Uber, Subway, and Dinner pitch as well!). Along with him, the CEO of CERTI Foundation, Leandro Carioni, joined the final part of the week to be part of the Jury of the Final Pitching Event. His feedbacks were valuable as well.

One last stop before the AIT Camp in Switzerland

The AIT Camp in Rio de Janeiro ended leaving all participants excited for the upcoming camp in Switzerland, but three Swiss participants were invited to join the Swiss Business Hub Roadshow in Florianópolis, which took part from October 10 to 11, just after the immersive week in Rio de Janeiro. Those three participants were graced with the unique opportunity of joining a Swiss business delegation in other very important innovation hub in Brazil. They met again the Brazilian AIT participants originally from Santa Catarina State and continued bridging the gap between Academia and Industry with a set of tailor-made business speed-dates and visits. n AIT 4

Meet all of the AIT promising scientrepreneurs who are going to gather again for further development of their business idea and startups in Switzerland, from 28 November to 2 December. Stay tuned on our Blog to read soon the impressions of the Brazilian participants in Lausanne and Zurich! And if you are around in Zurich, save your seat for the exciting AIT Swiss Camp Pitchfest, followed by a Networking Apero!

Rio de Janeiro, 3 November 2016

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   Adriano Bürgi, Project Manager swissnex Brazil


Check out the video!


swissnex Brazil in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), swissnex India and VentureLab 

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